Casino Stalker | Litigation
9th Circuit hears dispute on Tohono O'odham gaming site

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the Tohono O'odham Nation off-reservation gaming lawsuit on Monday.

The tribe acquired 135 acres near Glendale, Arizona, in connection with a land claim settlement. The Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed to place 54 acres in trust, prompting the litigation heard by the court.

According to news reports, three major issues were raised. One was whether the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act of 1986 imposed a cap on the amount of land the tribe can purchase to replace 9,880 acres that it lost to the federal government.

The Gila River Indian Community argued that the Tohono O'odham Nation already exceeded the cap. But an attorney for the Department of Justice said the cap only applies to land that is actually placed in trust.

Another issue was whether the land near Glendale is a part of the city. The Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act states that the tribe can only acquire land in "unincorporated" areas.

In approving the land-int-trust application, the BIA found that the 54 acres are indeed unincorporated. Subsequently, a state court found that the remainder of the 135-acre site was not properly annexed to Glendale.

The third major issue was whether the court should order the BIA to reconsider the application. A federal judge declined to remand to the agency.

If the land is placed in trust, the tribe plans to build the West Valley Resort on the property.

Get the Story:
Court of Appeals hears case on proposed casino near Glendale (The Arizona Republic 4/17)
Intense legal fight over proposed Glendale casino moves to 9th Circuit (The Arizona Capital Times 4/16)

Related Stories:
9th Circuit takes up Tohono O'odham Nation gaming case (4/16)